At 18, Tiffiny Shockley was staring at a bleak future. She was a new single mom, and her parents refused to help her go to college. Instead, Shockley had to go to work to support herself and her new baby.
Determined to change direction, Shockley soon made her way to a computer learning center, then to a local community college, then to West Chester University near Philadelphia where she earned a bachelor’s in Business Administration.
Today, Shockley has completed that change in direction as a new professor in the Interprofessional Science Program at Queens University of Charlotte and author of a recent book with a five-star Amazon rating: “Blackness: The Life and Times of an Unpopular People.’’
“I had a long college experience,’’ Shockley said during a recent interview in her Queens office. “I discovered my “why’ as I went through a lot of adversity.”
Shockley’s “why,’’ she said, is her passion for teaching. “I fell into it by accident,’’ she said. “But it is so natural for me, and it feels so right.”
Freshman Lily Trodson, from Rhode Island, majoring in International Studies, is a student in Shockley’s QMP Roadmap course. Trodson describes Shockley as a soothing person who tries to incorporate deep learning into her lessons.
“She strives to cultivate the opportunity for her students to use a different approach when solving a problem or attempting an assignment that would not have been thought of by most students,” wrote Trodson in an email response to questions about her teacher.
“She describes all her students as ‘unique individuals’ with varying perspectives that will enhance the educational experience when shared,” Trodson wrote.
Shockley is not only making an impact on her students, but also on her colleagues. Dr. Saundra Penn, an associate professor and chair of Interprofessional Health Studies, described Shockley as a “breath of fresh air.’’
“She has a contagious smile and is very passionate about working with all students,” wrote Penn in an email response to questions about her colleague.
Prior to joining the Queens community, Shockley worked as an enrollment advisor at Walden University where she earned her MBA.
“This was a pivotal moment for me because I had no direction before that,” said Shockley. Later, she worked at other universities including the University of Maryland and Iowa State Community College as an advisor and online teacher.
While at Walden University, Shockley decided to pursue her doctoral degree. Now she is making an impact at Queens University.
“It was perfect for me, because it was interdisciplinary studies, which essentially looking at my background that is who I am,” said Shockley.
Teaching an entry-level college course to freshmen, Shockley is already starting to leave her mark inside the classroom.
Because of her passion for learning, Shockley has exposed herself to many international conferences around the world. She has attended conferences in Spain, Thailand, and Malaysia. Last year, Shockley was a keynote speaker at an international conference in Thailand.
Though she came from a background with no direction, Shockley is now ready to leave a legacy at Queens.
“I actually look forward to having this as a place from which I can retire from,” she said, matter-of-factly and with a bold smile. “And that I can make some type of mark or difference.”